From the mouth of the Lord: “You shall know the truth and the truth shall set you free.”

In modern culture — rife with shills, spin masters and slick talkers — mainline journalists are the most trustworthy purveyors of truth. Good journalism, an essential part of the American experiment, deserves high regard and energetic protection.

That’s why everyone should raise objections to city officials in Medford, who are prosecuting April Ehrlich of Jefferson Public Radio. Ehrlich was arrested in September 2020 as she covered Medford police who were forcibly removing about 100 homeless people from a public park near downtown Medford.

No one likes the mess made by camping in Oregon cities. And the impromptu settlements are a source of crime. But these inconveniences don’t excuse image-conscious authoritarianism, which is just what police and their leaders exercised in the Ehrlich case. The veteran reporter was merely documenting an important event, and possibly living out what we Catholics would call a preferential option for the poor. Like many good journalists, Ehrlich wanted to report on people at the margins, which is precisely what Pope Francis has asked journalists to do.

Oppressive governments around the world arrest and even kill journalists. It appears the truth is inconvenient for despots, who prefer eternally sunny propaganda. The captains of Medford, and leaders everywhere, should not point even a toe down that unholy path.